Well look at that! I was driving back this weekend from our spiffy new Beyond the Shaker warehouse in Michigan (more on that in future posts), and I happened to see a billboard for Wendy’s new french fries. What makes them new? Well, instead of those sometimes mushy, always blocky rectangles of potato matter that we are used to from Wendy’s, us consumers are now offered a slimmer, more crisp option with real potato skin at random intervals. But the big change is the addition of sea salt! Now, on closer inspection this is certainly not Fleur de Sel, but certainly is far superior to the good ‘ole table salt varieties. There was a definite flake pattern characteristic of sea salt, and this provided a delightful ‘crunch’ that added much to the new fry experience. In a word, the new Wendy’s fries are YUM. Seriously, I was not a big fan before although I liked Wendy’s more than other options – the fries were always a bit lacking. This is a giant leap forward in fry-kind, a revolution rather than evolution.
But even more important, it is the continued mainstream acknowledgement that sea salt is better. It has a superior taste and texture, and so even the fast food chains are getting on the bandwagon. A Mintel consumer study is quoted in this article as testament to the rapid growth of sea salt in food products over the last few years. The article also quotes other consumer food trends that have embraced natural sea salts like Cambell’s soup and Whole Foods.
Good for Wendy’s! We can only hope other respected companies will embrace the sea salt movement as it continues to gain momentum.
As an aside, this USA Today article also quotes a so-called ‘nutritionist’ regarding the validity of the sea salt movement.
Here comes a bit of a rant so look away (but keep reading!).
Her quote that sea salt “tastes the same as common salt, costs more and has more sodium” is just false and is a perfect example of how a person that claims to be an expert has a wildly irrational stigma against sea salt. First, I think most of the world would acknowledge that natural sea salt is superior to processed salts that are bleached and contain additives such as iodine and anti-clumping agents. What kind-of nutritionist advocates eating manufactured chemicals over a natural product? Second, there is a huge flavor difference between processed salt and unrefined, natural, sea salts. Simply put, even the structural variance between the two salts offers a disparity of flavor as most would agree. Finally, there have been many studies showing that people actually use LESS sea salt as compared to processed salts given the difference in flavor. Furthermore, as sea salts contain natural minerals and trace elements, they generally have a lower sodium content. All of this is simply ignored by this nutritionist, which is a shame, since this is what propagates the illogical ‘anti-salt’ movement regardless of the difference between natural sea salts and the process variety.
Anyway, this situation has given us the idea that we should try to educate those that ignore the difference between processed salts and the naturally superior alternatives. More on this in future posts – until then, make sure you get out there and try these Wendy’s fries. You won’t be disappointed.